July 27, 2018
From the standpoint of enhancing predictability for markets involving electronic commerce and trading of information property, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) periodically revises the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading, the first version of which was issued in 2002, by reorganizing the interpretations of the Civil Code and other relevant laws.
METI hereby releases the latest Guidelines which were revised taking into account changes in trade environments brought about by AI, blockchain technology and other advanced technologies.
1. Outline of the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading
The Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading were formulated in March 2002 with a view to enhancing predictability for concerned parties and contributing to the facilitation of trade by clarifying how the Civil Code and other relevant laws are applied to various legal issues related to electronic commerce, information property trading, etc. (the guidelines were originally titled “Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce” as of March 2002).
With the cooperation of academic experts, related ministries and agencies, consumers, and the business community, METI presents an approach to the interpretation of the existing laws. METI anticipates that this approach will serve as an indicator for interpreting such laws surrounding electronic commerce and information property trading.
Since the formulation of the original guidelines in March 2002, METI has revised the guidelines as necessary, in accordance with situations in trade practices, technological trends, and the development of international and internal rules surrounding electronic commerce and information property trading. In this context, METI has revised the guidelines based on the results of deliberation by the Working Group on Rule Establishment for the Business Utilizing IT under the Information Economy Subcommittee of the Commerce, Distribution and Information Committee of the Industrial Structure Council.
2. Details of the revision
The following points of contention have been revised.
(1) Points of contention that need to be revised to address changes in trade environments
- I-10 Electronic commerce using AI speakers (new provision)
- I-10-1 Cases where an AI speaker fails to recognize target speech (new provision)
- I-10-2 Cases where an orderer has made a speech error to an AI speaker (new provision)
- III-14 Value transfer using blockchain technologies (new provision)
- IV-7 Coverage of Acts related to product safety for cross-border trading (new provision)
(2) Revision in line with the revision of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions
- I-2-4 Automatic-renewal clauses and Article 10, etc. of the Consumer Contract Act
- II-4-2 Regulations over advertisement for mail order shopping under the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions
(3) Deleted point of contention
- I-1-3 Requirements for businesses to make the application page for online shopping websites user-friendly (removal of the reference merely to the guidelines released by the Consumer Affairs Agency)
(4) Other revisions
- I-1-2 Mistake caused by Consumer's Erroneous Operation (additional reference to the guidelines released by the Consumer Affairs Agency)
- I-7-1 Liability of service operators involving inter-user trading (defining of the inclusion of flea-market services in the coverage of inter-user trading)
- II-6 Notice of product information put up on websites and infringement of trademark rights (defining of the inclusion of flea-market services in the coverage of inter-user trading)
Note: For details of the revision, see the appendixes attached to the Japanese language news release.
3. Call for public comments for future revision
METI will revise the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading as needed to address changes in trading practices, technical trends, progress in development of international rules and other
Send your comments to:
Address: 1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo (postal code: 100-8901)
Division in charge: Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, METI
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: When you send comments, please use the title “Comments for the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading” at the top of your facsimile or as the subject line of your email.
Division in Charge
Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau